Attack of The Ateneo 400 and Historical Revisionism

MANILA: History matters. But it must be intelligent history, or one that makes good sense in the present. Simply, "History is a story about the past that is significant and true," says Gutenberg College President David Crabtree ("The Importance of History," Gutenberg College, gutenberg.edu). It must be substantial, and it must be factual. 

Writing of history, 412 teachers of Ateneo de Manila have condemned Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos for whatever, and I have much to say against that history. But before I do that, to spare you the trouble, I must remind you of the reality of the Solid North. You will want to know about me; I must tell you that while Bongbong is half-blood, I am a full-blooded Ilocano from Asingan, Pangasinan – my grandfather Graciano came from Rosario, La Union. I am a UP Cow College graduate (1965); I am a self-taught creative writer with a fiercely independent mind; I got a UP grade of 1 in Western Thought because I love arguing; I was UP Los Baños Outstanding Alumnus for Creative Writing in 2011. And I had been in favor of the candidacy of Leni Robredo (see my essay "Why Leni is my VP," 11 October 2015, A Magazine Called Love. blogspot.com), but I changed my mind this year when she said she was in favor of same-sex marriages. That's against my religion, Roman Catholic.

Subsequently, when I was considering him as my new VP, I learned that Bongbong Marcos also said he was amenable to same-sex unions, so I'm left with no VP candidate today. But, this time I'm writing in favor of Bongbong, because as the faculty of Ateneo point to him with the forefinger, I see that 3 fingers are pointing to the pointer! J'accuse. The creative finger writes, and having writ, moves on.

I downloaded a copy of the Ateneo diatribe from The Presidentiables Blog (wordpress.com); the image above is from that blog but which I posterized for effect. In 873 words, including the title, date and the single quote from Bongbong, the disgusted Ateneo de Manila professors have expressed their intensely worded opinion on what Bongbong had said in 34 words:

Ipaubaya natin ang kasaysayan sa mga propesor, sa mga nag-aaral tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas. Kami, hindi namin trabaho yun. Ang trabaho namin ay tingnan kung ano ba ang pangangailangan ng taong bayan ngayon.

My translation:

Let us leave history to the professors, to those who are studying the history of the Philippines. We, that is not our job. Our job is to look at the needs of the Filipino people today.

What's wrong with that? History is for historians and students of history.

873 words from The Ateneo 400 as a reply to those 34 words from Bongbong – since it's 26 times longer, it's unmistakably a rant. I say they didn't have on hand a good author's editor, who would have told the author(s) the many faults of the protest as written. They cannot even decide what title to give it. Is it the one below the blog post, after the 412th name, "Concerned Ateneo de Manila Members' Response to Senator Marcos Jr" or the one at the top of the post, "We vehemently oppose and condemn the ongoing willful distortion of our history"? There are no such animals as "Ateneo de Manila Members." A good author's editor will help you write, but not write yourself into trouble.

What's the matter with the Ateneans? They don't know that in logic, their response is a red herring – which is also known as
beside the point,
misdirection,
changing the subject,
false emphasis,
The Chewbacca Defense,
irrelevant conclusion,
irrelevant thesis,
smokescreen,
clouding the issue,
ignorance of refutation,
judgmental language.

That list is from professor Bo Bennett, PhD (Logically Fallacious, logicallyfallacious.com). I love it!

How about muddling the issue?

Here are the first words of the Atenean rage:

In response to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr’s call that teachers and students of history should make a judgment about the Marcos administration, we, the undersigned members of the Ateneo de Manila community, vehemently oppose and condemn the ongoing willful distortion of our history. We deplore the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime. We reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for “unity” being presented by Marcos Jr and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections.

The part about Bongbong's "call that teachers and students of history should make a judgment about the Marcos administration" is correct; the rest of the Atenean rave is irrelevant. Speaking as an editor of 41 years, I can see that the Atenean(s) who prepared the statement got carried away by their hate that they failed to realize they were blabbering. What about those who merely signed? They did not know any better.

No Ilocano in his right mind will deny the abuses of Martial Law. Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is what I said lately ("The Son Also Rises!" 24 February 2016, A Magazine Called Love. blogspot.in):

Under Martial Law, what cannot be denied are the abnormalities. Let us not also deny the authenticities.

You love to write about the negatives; I love to write about the positives. Like the unprecedented growth of science in the Philippines, of which I wrote in that essay I mentioned above. FM was very much involved in Philippine science. Not only science. You cannot deny the roads and bridges from the North to the South. FM pushed for a leadership role of the Philippines in the Asean. You cannot deny the infrastructure, physical and not, of Philippine arts. Who gave birth to the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National High School for the Arts? it was also Imelda Romualdez Marcos who nourished a hybrid Filipino music. She also pushed for a more vibrant Philippine cinema.

Now, let me give a chance to The Ateneo 400, despite the fact that they are clearly engaged in logical fallacies. They say in that attack:

"We vehemently oppose and condemn the ongoing willful distortion of our history." Now then, Ateneans, please show us what distortions of history have been done, and by whom? Accusation without proof is character assassination.

"We deplore the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime." Again, Ateneans, please cite word-for-word statements from any of the Marcoses about such refusal, such crimes, and on what date, what occasion, what media.

"We reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for 'unity' being presented by Marcos Jr and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections." Ateneans, show us book, chapter and text those revisions of history. What disturbing vision of the future? How do you know what is shallow and what is not?

"The Marcos regime's economics of debt-driven growth was disastrous to the Philippines." Ateneans, show us how it was. Remember: Even China and the US have huge foreign debts.

"The regime was not interested in inclusive development, long-term state-building, nor genuine social transformation of the country." Not interested, not interested, not interested. If you can prove all that, then I will listen to you. Otherwise, I must say that The Ateneo 400 are The Apostles of Revisionism.



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